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Community Member

Student work disappearing/not showing up in Canvas

We have a number of students who are having constant crashing issues and disappearing work when they turn in assignments. Any help would be appreciated, I am about to pull out my hair trying to support 2700 students on this one.

Scenario 1: Student opens an assignment, starts to fill in the PDF using the
Canvas annotator, then it crashes and they loose everything they have worked on and have to start over. I have seen it happen, so it is not something that they are making up.

Scenario 2: They complete the PDF assignment, submit it, and it is blank when it shows up in Speed Grader, but complete when they saved it.

Scenario 3: Student uses a stand alone PDF annotator such as PDF cabinet, save it to their google drive and it shows up blank when they submit it to Canvas. The document is complete in the annotator, and you can see it in their google drive complete, but when they submit it, it is blank.

Scenario 4: They complete an assignment using Google Docs and it disappears or it doesn't submit with answers.

All of these are happening on a regular basis, but I can't figure out why this is happening. It effects some kids and not others, so it seems to be a user side error, but I have walked the kids through submitting and they appear to be doing nothing wrong.

We are using Apple iPads with iOS 10, but the problem does not seem to have preference for the operating system. Happens with both the App and the website.

Chris Pondy

5 Replies
Community Member

 @chris_pondy ​ - Can you explain a little more about what type of assignments these are, and whether they are regular Canvas assignments set up to allow file uploads? When you say they "start to fill in the PDF" it makes me wonder if you're using a third party tool.

IN some cases we are using the annotator embedded in Canvas and other times it is with a third party app.

For example, I will take a reading and create a set of questions combine them into a PDF. Upload the PDF as a link from my Canvas files. The students will open the assignment using the Canvas App and then use the PDF annotation feature to annotate the reading and then fill in the questions. The App crashes at various times in the process and the student looses the annotations they had completed and or any answers they may have filled in with the type tool. To avoid the crashing, student may need to use a third party app.

Another example would be if a student has done the same process, but opened the PDF in a third party app like PDF Cabinet. They will then upload the completed document to their school Google Drive and then upload it to Canvas. The assignment is complete with all of the answers both in the app PDF Cabinet as well as the PDF saved to Google Drive, but when it is opened on my end in Speed Grader, the document is blank, or the top and bottom of the students answers are cut off. This process is still used by many teachers since we have not had formal training as of yet on the new annotation features in Canvas. I can't move forward on training the staff until I figure out what is causing the crashing issue described above.

In the case of a .doc file that is uploaded to Canvas and saved in the same manor, the student opens the document and uses Google Docs to complete the assignment. When they upload it to Canvas, it appears as a blank document without answers. Today I had multiple students come to me with this issue and not only did their assignment upload blank, but all of their info disappeared from the Google doc as well.

As far as the assignment setup goes, they are regular assignments with online submissions set to PDF, DOC, DOCX for submission types.

My recommendation is to have the students with the problems submit Help tickets and escalate them to support. Support can dig deeper into things and may also have extra insight into whether there are any current issues/bugs or or.

I'm having this issue with Google docs, did you find anything helpful?

Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @chris_pondy ​...

I wanted to check in with you because there hasn't been any new activity in this particular discussion topic since early November.  Did any of the above responses from  @tdelillo ​ or  @kona ​ help to resolve your issue?  If so, please go ahead and mark either of their responses as "Correct".  If not, however, please post a message below letting members of the Canvas Community know that you're still looking for assistance.  For now, I'm going to mark your question as "Assumed Answered" (since there hasn't been new activity for a while), but that won't prevent you or others from adding additional posting to this topic.  Looking forward to hearing from you, Christopher!